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Michał Kloczkowski

How to cost-effectively build an MVP online store on Magento 2: strategies and tips

Implementing Magento as an MVP

Discover key aspects of maximizing budget efficiency when creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) online store on the Magento 2 platform. Learn what to focus on, what to avoid, and how to assess whether Magento 2 is the right choice for your project.

In the era of startups and dynamic business projects, the concept of an MVP has become a foundation for innovators and new ventures. In the context of Magento implementations, an MVP means creating a basic yet fully functional version of an online store that allows you to quickly enter the market and test business assumptions with minimal initial costs. Instead of investing in extensive functionalities at the start, focus on essential elements that attract customers and generate revenue, leaving room for easy store expansion as needs and opportunities grow.

The purpose of this article is to provide practical tips to help you effectively plan the implementation of an online store using Magento 2. You will gain knowledge on how to allocate your budget efficiently to build a scalable online store that will develop without unnecessary initial functionalities, which can disproportionately increase the budget without guaranteeing immediate returns on investment.

Don’t limit yourself in international expansion: Multi-currency and international transactions in Magento 2

Magento 2 stands out with its advanced multistore engine, enabling transactions in various currencies and across multiple international markets. This allows you to easily expand your store's operations beyond one country without any additional developer enhancements. However, when deciding on such an expansion, consider additional costs related to local regulations and the need for content translation. Tools like DeepL can be invaluable in minimizing these expenses.

For payments, consider solutions that support international markets, such as Adyen, Stripe, or These payment platforms offer extensive multi-currency handling capabilities and are tailored to meet the needs of customers from different countries.

For logistics, it is recommended to work with international courier providers. While companies like InPost are popular in Poland, global players like DHL or UPS can offer more efficient and versatile solutions for international shipping. Of course, the more couriers and payment methods available, the better, though not always - moderation is key in customer choices. At this stage, we are discussing the initial phase of operation to minimize unnecessary costs.

Optimizing information architecture: Effective category tree

Carefully design the category tree in your Magento 2 store to avoid the need for additional, often costly extensions like megamenu. A megamenu is an extended navigation menu that allows displaying multiple options and categories in a clear way. Megamenu modules differ from standard categorization in that they offer more advanced visualization and content organization options.

However, a well-designed category tree can reduce the need for a megamenu. The key is to ensure the category structure is intuitive and meets user expectations. Before deciding to purchase an additional megamenu module, consider if a similar effect can be achieved through careful planning and organization of product categories and using the native category tree.

Additionally, it is important to ensure the category structure in your online store is consistent with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system if such integration is planned. Inconsistent structures can hinder or even prevent effective integration. Keep in mind that changes to the category tree are usually rare, so when looking to cut costs, consider completely forgoing category tree integration with ERP. Think about how much extra work this will generate and whether it is worth investing in.

Limit yourself to essential integrations

When building a new store on the Magento 2 platform, you often encounter opinions suggesting the necessity of integrating with external systems like PIM (Product Information Management). However, it is worth noting that Magento has built-in, though less intuitive, catalog management functions that may suffice, especially compared to solutions like PIMCore or Akaneo.

Key integrations to focus on are those related to inventory management, pricing, and orders. These areas are critical for the smooth operation of an e-store and ensure operational fluidity.

Regarding product management, remember that if the assortment changes infrequently, automation of their creation from ERP data may not be necessary. Magento offers the possibility of mass uploading products via CSV files, which can be a convenient and sometimes more effective solution.

When it comes to analytical tools, do not skimp on solutions like Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or Facebook Pixel. These tools provide valuable data on user behavior and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Marketing Automation in Magento 2

In the context of building a store on any platform, not necessarily Magento 2, it is crucial to focus on effectively utilizing marketing automation (MA) tools that will not significantly strain your budget. The basic elements of a marketing automation strategy that every e-commerce store should implement include newsletter sign-ups, abandoned cart recovery, and product recommendation automation. These can be implemented not only through external tools.

  1. Newsletter sign-up: Magento offers native functionality for newsletter sign-ups, allowing easy integration and subscription management. It is also important to remember to migrate the existing customer base during the transition to a new system. As the database is not large, you may not send regular mailings, so perhaps a default email thanking for signing up with a discount and manual migration (via CSV lists) to an external tool will suffice.

  2. Abandoned cart recovery: In the initial phase of operation, before deciding on subscription solutions, consider using plugins for recovering abandoned carts. These are often less costly and can effectively support this element of the marketing automation strategy. One of our recommended plugins is from Amasty.

  3. Product recommendation automation: If you have a small product catalog, recommendations can be created manually. However, if the assortment is larger, consider using specialized modules from Magento providers. These tools allow for the automation of the recommendation process, which can significantly increase sales effectiveness and improve user experience.

Remember, the key is finding the balance between functionality and cost. Sensible management of MA tools in Magento will enable you to build an effective marketing strategy without incurring excessive expenses, especially in the early stages of developing your e-business.

Maximize promotion creation capabilities in Magento 2

The Magento 2 platform is particularly valued for its advanced promotional capabilities. Enhancing these functionalities with the Amasty Promotions module, one of the more well-known add-ons, can significantly expand your promotional options.

However, it is important to note that a strategy of extensive promotion usage may not suit every type of store. Stores offering exclusive products that attract clientele less responsive to promotions may not feel the need to implement such extensive promotional options.

For most e-commerce stores, the promotional capabilities offered by Magento and modules like Amasty Promo are invaluable tools for increasing sales and customer engagement. Instead of relying solely on independent marketing strategies or attempting to develop a promotion plan on your own, it is worth utilizing the Magento documentation and Amasty module as a starting point.

Here are some examples of promotions you can implement without additional expansion:

  • Promotions on the cheapest/most expensive product: Create offers based on the cheapest or most expensive product in the cart, e.g., buy sneakers and get shoelaces for free, or buy jeans and a T-shirt and get 50% off the T-shirt.

  • Buy X, get Y: This type of promotion includes offers for two different products, e.g., buy a laptop and get a mouse for free.

  • Product bundles: Create product bundles according to your needs and set fixed or percentage discounts for them, e.g., a furniture set for 7000 PLN.

  • Discounts for buying N number of products: Offer discounts on subsequent products after purchasing a certain number, e.g., after buying three books, get a 15 PLN discount on each additional one.

  • Discounts for spending amounts: Create offers based on the amount spent by the customer, e.g., spend 300 PLN and get a 40 PLN discount.

  • Tiered discounts: Motivate customers to make larger purchases with dynamic discounts, e.g., 10% off when buying two T-shirts, 15% off for three, and so on.

Each of these options allows you to create attractive and effective promotions that can significantly increase sales and improve the shopping experience for customers in your Magento 2 store.

Prudent use of plugins in Magento 2

When building a store on the Magento 2 platform, avoid a strategy based on "buy plugins instead of creating custom modules." While it may seem like a saving initially, in the long run, an excessive number of plugins can lead to increased costs, difficulties in identifying issues, and reduced store performance.

If you decide to use plugins, opt for solutions from one or two trusted providers and limit their number. Such selectiveness helps maintain your store's performance and stability. In our case, we rely on our well-developed solutions and modules from trusted providers that have been tested and used for years.

The crucial role of product structure

One of the most important aspects when creating a store is precisely defining and carefully developing the product base. If you haven't had the opportunity to work on any form of digitalizing your product catalog, conducting workshops on information architecture might be helpful to ensure the product structure is arranged most efficiently for users and IT systems.

A key element here is creating a well-structured product base and their features. This means that product attributes are clearly separated and not hidden in descriptions. They have clearly defined types and roles (e.g., used for filters, comparisons, or visible only from the CMS to facilitate customer service work). Such a structure allows for more efficient catalog management, easier filtering and searching, and significantly improves SEO positioning. Moreover, a well-organized product base is essential for effective integration with various marketplace platforms in the future.

Efficient content management in transactional emails

In the process of creating a store on Magento 2, a common mistake is focusing too much on high personalization of transactional emails. Notably, many stores do not realize that emails are created using technologies considered outdated, such as table-based pages.

Therefore, instead of emphasizing the graphic layer, focus on the copy content in transactional emails. This approach helps reduce costs, as the content of emails can be easily edited even by yourself in the Magento panel, while any significant changes may require programmer intervention, leading to a significant increase in costs.

Optimizing layout in Magento 2 considering technology

One of the key challenges in creating a store on the Magento 2 platform is developing a layout consistent with the chosen technology, not just an individual vision. The most common mistake is wanting to implement a custom design regardless of the basic structures of Magento. This decision can lead to significant cost increases for implementation, often exceeding 100,000 PLN. This is particularly important for platforms like Magento, which have specific architectures and design practices.

Opting for a dedicated layout requires larger financial and time investments. It is worth noting that the process of learning and exploring Magento's functionalities is a crucial element in effectively using this platform. Utilizing the native layout allows for fully leveraging all Magento features.

Additionally, it is important to avoid purchasing ready-made layouts. While they may seem like an attractive and quick option, they are often overloaded with unnecessary libraries and scripts. This excess can negatively impact the store's performance, and any attempts to modify such layouts can be problematic and costly. Therefore, it is crucial that the agency or UX/UI team you work with not only has knowledge in their specialization but also understands the capabilities of the technology you intend to implement.

Considered approach to Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

PWA, or Progressive Web Apps, are increasingly popular in the e-commerce world. This modern solution combines the features of a website with a mobile app, offering high performance and better user experience. However, it should be remembered that most PWA solutions do not support all standard functionalities in Magento 2, which can limit your store's capabilities.

Moreover, the cost of developing PWA is usually higher, as it requires work on at least two applications (backend API-first and web limited to so-called storefront) and additional testing and documentation overheads. Therefore, PWA is recommended as the next step in the store's development for businesses that already have solid e-commerce experience and know how to leverage the advantages of this technology.

Relieve servers with a cache layer

Magento 2, despite its many pluses and extensive functionalities, is a heavy system in terms of server infrastructure. Its engine is quite complex and requires supporting applications like Elastic Search. However, there are ways to keep costs in check over the long term, and a key one is advanced use of caching tools.

Effective caching in Magento 2, both with the default Magento cache system and additional tools like Varnish, can significantly speed up the store's operation on a weaker machine. Varnish, installed and configured on the server, reduces load and improves performance. Additionally, using Cloudflare (Pro version) services, which offer additional caching layers and CDN (Content Delivery Network), translates to faster page loading and even 70% lower server load. More information on this can be found in the article available here.

Openly discuss budget

Openly discussing the budget often provokes controversy and does not always align with the standard business practices of many companies. Nevertheless, open communication with the implementation company about the budget is crucial if you are not an expert in Magento but want to maximize the effect within the planned scale of investment.

Such a dialogue allows for jointly determining the optimal store functionalities, considering financial constraints. Effective collaboration in a 'win-win' model can result in a store that meets business expectations without exceeding the budget while enabling the software house to use proven and efficient solutions.


In conclusion, building an effective MVP online store on Magento 2 is an art of maintaining balance – it requires skillfully combining ambitions with business realities. The article presents the platform as a powerful tool that, despite its complexity, offers flexibility and scalability within reasonable costs. The key is finding the golden mean between innovation in design and practicality, between global reach and local constraints, between extensive promotions and user simplicity.

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